BVU students Emily Kenny and Madeleine McCormick

BVU students Emily Kenny and Madeleine McCormick

March 13, 2018

Two Buena Vista University students were awarded the Iron Reporter title at the annual College Media Association national conference March 10 in New York City. 

The students are Madeleine McCormick, a senior digital media major from Huxley; and Emily Kenny, a senior digital media and psychology double major from Schaller. 

In total, six BVU students traveled to the conference with Dr. Andrea Frantz, professor of digital media, and participated in the journalism competition. In addition to McCormick and Kenny, Alyssa Donnelly, a junior strategic public relations major from Council Bluffs; Allyssa Ertz, a junior digital media major from Denison; Cooper Maahs, a junior digital media major from Johnston; and Olivia Wieseler, a junior digital media and English double major from Saint Helena, Neb., worked to locate, source and produce in 24 hours a unique human interest story on the theme “Labor and the City.” 

“Organizers wanted to provide student media leaders a boots-on-the-ground reporting challenge that tested journalistic skills and tenacity.”

Dr. Andrea Frantz

The contest, sponsored jointly by the College Media Association and New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), was the first of its kind for the long-running conference.  

“Organizers wanted to provide student media leaders a boots-on-the-ground reporting challenge that tested journalistic skills and tenacity,” said Frantz. “Students faced having to navigate a pretty foreign space, get people to talk with them, and put in the time to craft a great story.” 

In an awards ceremony held on the NYIT campus March 9, McCormick and Kenny’s multimedia feature “Batman gets boxed in: the effects of New York City regulations on Times Square characters” was named the top entry among approximately 25 teams from across the nation. Judges cited the winning entry’s excellent sourcing, discovery of an issue, and production value as the reasons it was chosen. 

“While judges were announcing the second and third place winners, I thought both of their subjects were really interesting, so I was really surprised when we won,” said Kenny. “Overall, it was a really cool experience, and I’m proud of the work that all of the BVU students put into this competition.” 

The Iron Reporter competition is slated to become a regular feature of the College Media Association annual conference and BVU now holds the first national title.

In addition to the Iron Reporter competition, the College Media Association also sponsors the Apple Awards, a national contest that recognizes the best in student journalism and social media.  McCormick was named second place winner in the Best Podcast category. Rounding out that category was American University (Washington D.C.) in first place and Chaffey College (California) in third place. The schools have enrollments of over 13,000 and 23,000 respectively. 

“Madeleine’s podcast ‘Politics of fear: what are we so afraid of?’ focused on the challenges we face right now with respect to immigration,” said Frantz. “Judges listened to a five-minute excerpt of what was originally a 21-minute long-form piece. I knew, given the quality of the production, she had a good shot.”

“I am in disbelief,” said McCormick as she described her feelings on learning of the Apple Award. “I am honored to have received the award and proud to represent my school at the national level.”

Digital Media at BVU

In Buena Vista University's digital media program, students are prepared to become professional multimedia storytellers.